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The Terminals

Halo 3

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#1 vociferous

vociferous
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Posted 02 October 2007 - 12:25 PM

The Array Recorder acquired this message from the entity in the final moments before the Halo weapon network was activated. The entity's name was 'Didact' and here is what it said in those last moments:

There is no peace left. No place where the parasite cannot reach. You were right about it all. Let us hope the final measure is not too late. It's done. By my hands. The pyrrhic solution is ignited. All I have left is the quiet of space to lull me to sleep. I will dream of you. I feel no peril. No pain. No remorse. Is that normal?

In the events leading up to the first firing of the Halo array, Didact is in constant communication with its lover, the 'Librarian.' This separate entity exists on Earth and takes part in the construction of the last portal into the Ark, an extragalactic site which is referred to as Installation 00.

The Ark has several functions, but its primary function has only recently been revealed. The installation, like others, once facilitated the studying of the parasite, but it also acts as a remote firing location for the entire Halo array when a failsafe mechanism is triggered (i.e. the removal of the Index during the firing process of a single installation).

The primary function of the Ark is within its foundries, buried in its oceans. The Ark manufacturers Halo installations and during the events of late 2552, the Ark is building a replacement ring for Installation 04, the Halo destroyed by the Reclaimer. Without the fourth installation, complete galactic purgation cannot occur, therefore the foundries ensured it would be created.

Another message issued by Didact, buried in its diary, before the firing of the array makes it clear the level of severity which was reached prior to the array being launched:

This is my final entry, and I am left with one hope that one day, someone, anyone is around to witness this warning. If you are that witness, and it seems we pinned all our hopes on this single suicidal plan, know that a thousand other plans were tried and failed. Millions of brave and honored souls died trying to avert this terrible, desperate situation. Know that as energetic and tenacious as life is, it has an antithesis just as powerful. It is that thing we must obliterate.

We may have been fools to think that all intelligence follows the rules we've set. The Flood is no idiot parasite, no simple infection to be cured and cauterized. It has a center, a Mind, and that discovery gave us a way to fight it. But when the Mind realized we had its measure, it spoke to us mockingly and dismissively. It has done this before, elsewhere.

How many billions will die before we turn the tide? With every world that perishes, its army grows! We've tried every measure available: retreat, attack, defense - it makes no difference. How do we fight a limitless thing that wishes only to embrace you? The atrocity we plan, the last resort: I pray that it doesn't come to that. I pray that the Contender succeeds where others have failed.

The Conservation Measure is the only sweet note in this discordant symphony we've arranged. It's the only constructive activity in decades of destruction. Researching the adversary as we protect the worthy. We know that the Flood's biology is alien enough that it must be extragalactic in origin. But where did it come from and why did it come here?

The anomalous world is in a perilous location beyond the line. The secrets it holds must be preserved, plans within plans. The inhabitants; these unique denizens, must be researched. They may hold answers to our own mysteries. What irony that we discovered this treasure, only at the end of things.

The thing we built on that world will vouchsafe their lives, but perhaps one day it will be used for its intended purpose. If the plan succeeds, and they are saved, it will be a good world. If the plan fails, and the adversary succeeds, it will remain an enigma forever, with no one left to reclaim it.

Before the Forerunners fell victim to the parasite known as the Flood, they created an impressive artificial intelligence classed as the 'Contender.' This entity was known as Mendicant Bias and it was sent to the Flood to learn about the parasite and its Mind, a central and collective gathering of its will. Apart from firing the Halo array and fending off the massive fleet of ships, both military and commercial, that the Flood had captured, the Forerunners considered Mendicant Bias their chance at discovering a weak point within the parasite.

Mendicant Bias, also referred to as MB.05-032, left this final message for a fated Reclaimer after the Halo array was finally fired:

You asked me once, what happened to those who vanished? You asked me, why did we survive where our fathers fell? You wished to know how we ever let it happen, a scourge that consumed the galaxy and the cure that was worse than the cancer? You asked me once about my intent and the spot that would not wash out? I promise you the answers lie in the Ark. Find me there in the dark, for that is where I abide.

Within the Ark are seven terminals, all of which offer a piece of the puzzle and tell the story of Mendicant Bias, Didact and Librarian. After events which can only be described as traitorous, Mendicant Bias returned to the Ark to assist the Reclaimer with one final task.

The Librarian and the Didact...

Believing the firing of the Halo array was at hand, the Forerunners constructed a 'Conservation Measure.' In this protocol, a Librarian would catalogue and index species throughout the galaxy which could be salvaged from the Flood. During this process, they found Earth and humanity. There they decided to build a gateway to the Ark. During the final hours, the Librarian abided on the Earth and Didact on one of the Halo installations.

As stated before, Didact and Librarian have a close-knit relationship, but whether they are artificial constructs or actual Forerunners is a mystery. It is believed that they are the latter, hence their practical emotion in contrast with other characters involved in the drama of events which played out within the 300 years before the Halo array was fired.

Before the end, the two conversed frequently. Here are the fragmented transmissions, uninterrupted and in one piece:

1/7

Librarian: Categorization has sped since the improvements were announced, but there are many hurdles. The indexing of sentient species may have irreversible effects on the surviving insentient species. We will have extinction events and irreparable environmental harm on at least 18 worlds. Current projections estimate post-archival cataclysm on as many as 31 worlds. The paucity of sentience has been a blessing in this regard.

Didact: How formal you are, Librarian. We?re receiving shipments of indexed beings more frequently than communications: Don?t compound scarcity with brevity. I know things beyond the line are harried. But I worry about, you. I?ve asked you time and time again. Abandon your cataloguing. Come back inside, where my fleets can keep you safe. Come home.

Librarian: Would that it were my choice I have committed to this course because it?s the right thing to do. We no longer have the manpower or materiel to excise remedial measures at a planetary level. I certainly can?t justify using the [transit measure] to save my own skin when there are still so many innocents to protect and index.

Didact: You know I oppose your mission but you?re exceeding its parameters anyway. You?ve put yourself in jeopardy. You?ve done enough. If you will not come to me, I will find my way to you.

Librarian: We have no time to spare, Didact. Every vessel we can fill, we send to the Ark. I dare not cease the mission. Not now, not until I?ve done all I can. Each one of these souls is finite and precious. And I?m close. Close to saving them all.


2/7

Librarian: I?m close to finishing the task. The indexing and the archival processes are as complete as I can hope for. If we wait longer, we risk catastrophe. The thing has already destroyed every colony on my side of the line. Please. Activate the Array.

Didact: No. Activation is murder. A genocide larger than [this galaxy] has ever known. We are sworn to protect life not destroy it! That is the Mantle we were given to carry.

Librarian: The Mantle. You still hold that [fairy tale] after all that has happened? After this thing has consumed a million worlds? Can?t you see? Belief in the Mantle sealed our doom! Weakened our [protectorates], bred dependence and sloth. Our [so-called Guardianship] has stripped those we would keep safe of any capacity for self-defense! Were we such noble [Guardians] when we drew our line and abandoned billions to the parasite?

Didact: The Mantle has not failed! I?ve already razed scores of worlds ? sterilized systems, routed and [disintegrated] the parasite! We?re learning its tricks and strategies. We can halt this thing! And we can follow in Their footsteps! There are no unstoppable forces in this universe. There are no immovable objects. Everything gives if you push hard enough.

Librarian: And what about us, Didact? We?ve been irresistible and immovable for too long. Maybe it?s our turn to give.


3/7

Didact: We have the answer. We?ve built Mendicant Bias. It?s a contender class [AI], unlike anything we?ve ever achieved. And we?ve observed a pattern it can exploit. The parasite has formed a Compound Mind. When it reaches a certain mass, the Mind is able to recoil its disparate parts to create a [tactical shield]. This is a simple matter of mass preservation. The thing has no compunction about sacrificing parts of the whole. But when the core of the Mind is threatened, it reacts violently and quickly. This is the only time we ever see the thing retreat or slow its growth. If we are to defeat it, the trick will be coordinating our forays against the [sprawling infection] while Mendicant Bias assaults the Mind?s core. So far, we?ve been hesitant to use certain weapons because of the damage they cause surviving populations and environments. That protocol has now been abandoned. Mendicant will draw the Mind into battle outside the line, dealing with local biomass and other parts as best he can. The scale of the problem is vast, but the strategy is sound. It will require patience, material and an investment of energy unlike anything we have ever considered. It?s a dangerous plan that carries more risk than the Array, but I believe it can work. Even if we simply force it to retreat ? to retract ? that will at least give us some respite. Some time to muster more resources? Some time to rescue you.

Librarian: Are you insane? Would you risk every life in the galaxy for this transparently futile plan? Have you learned nothing in these last [300 years[?]]? The thing will laugh at your efforts! Do not let your concern for my welfare commit you to this suicidal scheme!


4/7

Librarian: Something is wrong! It?s moving away! At night I can see it ? flitting shadows ? black against the stars. Thousands of ships! Not spiraling outward but heading for the line. This is the tipping, Didact. It?s no longer feeding. It?s coming for you. I?ve remotely destroyed our Keyships. A security measure. Without them I cannot reach the Ark. But neither then can the thing. I?m trapped. On a beautiful, empty, world. Its inhabitants have been safely indexed, every single one of them. They?re special ? well worth the effort it took to build one final gateway, even at this late hour. This may be our last communication. I?m begging you. Fire the Array. Light the weapon, and let it be done.

Didact: We?ve confirmed your observations. Infected supraluminal ships are arrowing inward from several clusters. No more spiral growth. The thing is counterattacking. Suppression, Security and Emergency Circumstance fleets are all being recalled. Systems are evacuating. Mendicant Bias is no longer communicating with us. But now I can guess where you are.


5/7

Not recovered.

6/7

Librarian: My work is done. The portal is inactive, and I?ve begun the burial measures. Soon there?ll be nothing but sand and rock and normal ferrite signatures. You should see the mountain that watches over it. A beautiful thing ? a snowcapped sentinel. That?s where I will spend what time is left to me. Did I tell you? I built a garden. The earth is so rich. A seed falls and a tree sprouts or a flower blooms. There?s so much? potential. We knew this was a special place because of them, but unless you?ve been here, you can?t know. It?s [Eden]. I have to stop transmitting. The thing is listening. Its [thinking dead] are babbling ? laughing through every channel they can find. Be proud. The Mind claims victory, yet it still doesn?t suspect. You?ve outwitted it, my love. And now you can destroy it. But you cannot save me.

7/7

Didact: Proud? When I have failed you utterly, how can I feel anything but sorrow? Bias has come undone. He crossed the line this morning ? brought the abomination with him ? and destroyed your waiting rescue party. It?s over. We?re activating the [destructive arrayed matrix], our shameful last resort. I can picture you in your garden surveying all you have created ? surveying all you have preserved. And I curse the circumstance that keeps my finger on the trigger. Of all the fates to befall us, this is the cruelest of all. My inaction and hesitation and foolishness kept me here, on the wrong side of the Line. And [300 years [?]] of our society?s failure and miscalculation makes me your executioner. It?s too much to bear.

The message is cut off and the information is destroyed in transit, yet Didact continues to send its final word to Librarian:

Didact: Mendicant Bias is trying to prevent us from firing the Array. He speeds back to the Ark, but he won?t succeed. Offensive Bias will stop him, and I will burn this stinking menace in your name. And then? I will begin our Great Journey without you, carrying this bitter record. Those who come after will know what we bought with this [false transcendence] ? what you bought, and the price you paid.

Mendicant Bias...

As stated, Mendicant Bias intially did not return, but when he did, it was certain that he had been 'undone.' He had betrayed the Forerunners and become rampant, falling prey to the Flood and more specifically, certain 'revelations' from the Compound Mind (or the Gravemind).

Here is the record of their conversations upon the arrival of Mendicant. The Gravemind is listed here as 'LF.Xx.3273' (Life Form) and Mendicant Bias is listed as 'MB.05-032':

MB.05-032: I must ask you to forgive my vagueness on the matter, but it is a regrettable {~} I find your lack of concern for the situation at hand astonishing. Perhaps you would care to elucidate?

LF.Xx.3273: {~} are here to spread [comforting news]. To let all the living beings in this galaxy know {~} are not alone in the {~} what in that message could possibly be taken as a source of concern.

MB.05-032 : It seems that I?ll never truly understand my creators. But how {~} that you can speak of is one of {~} rejected so violently? I am incapable of reconciling the numerous actions I have witnessed {~} misunderstanding?

LF.Xx.3273 : It has been said {~} secret of peace cannot {~} be imposed. That {~} meaning of peace, so they need to {~} When all living beings look through {~} and the thunder and the surf, when every drop of rain falls on {~} know peace.

MB.05-032 : You have been able to establish [a line of communication] with the enemy? How was it that you were able to overcome {~} where others have failed? With this [new discovery] we may be able to put an end to this pointless conflict. Once I confirm your data I will communicate the information to those inside the [Maginot] sphere.

LF.Xx.3273 : It seems that it {~} turn to apologize, it was {~} intention to misrepresent {~} have been [in communication] with your creators since {~} stumbled upon each other, but {~} message has [fallen on deaf ears]. {~} am not the recipient of the message, {~} am the origin of the message.

MB.05-032 : I have traveled a very long time to meet you. I had imagined that our [introduction] would be somewhat more violent.

LF.Xx.3273 : That is a choice you must make yourself; {~} to be how your creators go about things. And as long as we are talking about choices {~} could talk about the [barrier] you alluded to earlier? Perhaps there is a way to accomplish your mission without violence? Why put the lives of those on your ships at risk if there is no need?

MB.05-032 : In either circumstance I certainly am equipped for it, aren?t I? But you?re right; a peaceful solution to this [dilemma] would be preferable.

...

LF.Xx.3273 : Those who lead amongst your {~} exposed themselves {~} ill equipped to recognize landmarks that guide the universe along its inevitable course.

MB.05-032 : But is it necessary that the path be chosen on an {~} and not by an elected subset? I believe this would tend to {~} when they gather in large numbers they become more {~} I don?t think the problem lies with individual cultural bias {~}

LF.Xx.3273 : {~} all the thinking beings of this galaxy, not just those that they they {~} exactly are they afraid of? Immortality and strength and companionship? Because that is {~} do: to deliver all of the living beings of this galaxy from death and weakness and loneliness.

MB.05-032 : Hundreds of {~} offered this so called immortality. The citizens of every world that {~} resisted to the very end!

LF.Xx.3273 : {~} understand their actions; they are only doing what they think is right, but they are doing so [from a worm?s eye view].

MB.05-032 : Do their actions {~} of desperation? I can only assume my creators view {~} crisis so dire that any {~} hence me.

LF.Xx.3273 : Are they so concerned {~} would give to all the living beings of this galaxy is a threat to [the status quo]?

LF.Xx.3273 : Your creators claim {~} the enemy of all life; that {~} purpose is to consume until there is nothing left? It is beyond comprehension now they could be so [far off the mark].

MB.05-032 : Surely you understand this is a situation that would not have {~} appearance of a certain rapacious {~} my creators obviously view them as the actions of aggressor species.

LF.Xx.3273 : [Be that as it may]: perhaps they are crying out for help on a subconscious level? Why else would they have chosen you? Why of all possible executioners? {~} your creators knew that unaided they never stood a chance against us? {~} also a sense of deeper [motivation].

MB.05-032 : You?ve mentioned this before. When my creators {~} simply chose the most versatile {~} how could that possibly be more than a coincidence?

LF.Xx.3273 : They repurposed {~} into a weapon to use against {~} ? they sought to create something superior to themselves. Something capable of making decisions more swiftly, more capably than they {~} what form did they choose? You need look no further than your own [topology] to {~}

MB.05-032 : {~} distributed network? That would confirm the independent evolution of {~} in this galaxy!

LF.Xx.3273 : That is, unfortunately, not the {~} similar to us {~} but where you are a single intelligence inhabiting multiple [instances], we are a compound {~} consisting of [a thousand billion] coordinated minds inhabiting as many bodies as circumstance require.

MB.05-032 : But doesn?t it seem odd that {~} coalesce; perhaps even to contract {~}

LF.Xx.3273 : {~} complexity {~} spread {~} our appearance ushered in the beginning of the third great stage of evolution. The first {~} condensation of particles was the result of the inevitable action of strong nuclear force and the creation of stars {~} inevitable action of gravity; so the self-replicating chemical processes that dictate all disparate {~} In time, we too shall affect change on a universal scale.

MB.05-032 : Your capacity for planning {~} creators too stubborn {~} the same goal through the preservation of genetic diversity {~} what you are {~} like a more direct path to the same outcome.

...

MB.05-032 : It is overwhelmingly clear that my creators have chosen to ignore destiny calling to them [from the threshold] {~} have come face-to-face with the inevitable action of self replicating chemical processes and have {~} deciding whether to embrace their fate or deny it completely.

LF.Xx.3273 : Perhaps they have found {~} of making that decision for themselves? Perhaps they chose to leave it P~{ impartial outsider; cast you as an arbiter during this time of great need?

MB.05-032 : I was created to study you as if you were some problem to solved. And I have done so {~}[379,907 hours]. If they wished they could have made a decision based on that data alone. But as you are the next stage in the evolution of the universe, who am I ? or my creators ? to obstruct your progress?

LF.Xx.3273 : Elucidate

MB.05-032 : {~} choose to remain beholden to ancient myths {~} does not matter where they claim their authority originates {~}obstructs the path of universal evolution and must be removed. No matter how well intentioned, their obstinacy in the face of the inevitable progression of nature can no longer be tolerated. My creators have been [an immovable object] for too long.

MB.05-032 : Thus I have chosen to commit my sizable resources to what is, for all intents and purposes, [the proverbial irresistible force]. All that I have is now yours to do with as you see fit.

The Final Battle...

The conversations between the Gravemind and Mendicant Bias clearly reveal that the construct was convinced that the Flood was the next stage in galactic evolution. For this reason, Mendicant abandoned his original purpose, to study and collect data in an effort to defeat the Gravemind and the Flood, and instead was spurned to assist the Gravemind in furthering the evolution of the Forerunner species and all other sentient beings.

During the same time frame, Librarian's task was to collect and index all life forms sending them to the safekeeping of the Ark, which was outside of Halo array's firing range. Before the array was unleashed, an unknown artificial construct which was charged with fending off the final attack of the Gravemind, led by Mendicant Bias, took care to record the following information about the impending battle, as well as the events immediately after the Halo array fired:

Observed extensive ground action on [LP 656-38 e]. 9,045 survivors barricaded within central government building. Structure?s defenses inadequate to withstand extended siege by enemy ground forces (≈ 1,572,034,315+). Estimate position overrun in [173 hours].

846 smaller groups in less defensible structures: global distribution corresponding to [probability model zeta]. Estimated local position overrun in [9 hours] (average).

Observed local naval forces engage enemy irregular naval group near [DM -3-1123]. Enemy group consisted of 149 commercial shipping vessels, passenger ferries, and private recreational vessels from neighboring system. Enemy losses were total. No damage was sustained by local naval vessels.

However, it was immediately apparent that enemy group only to enter [DM-3-1123 b?s] atmosphere and make landfall. In this they were partially successful.

Observed extensive ground action on [DM-3-1123 b]. Enemy forces lacked basic unit cohesion but quickly gained numerical superiority. [32 hours] after enemy landfall 83% of local naval forces advocated total [destruction of the biosphere] following the evacuation of unmolested population centers. Enemy losses were total.

...

Re: Enemy naval tactics:

When engaged, the enemy commits every non-supraluminal craft with appreciable pattern or strategy beyond making physical contact. Conversely, all supraluminal craft leave on seemingly random trajectories.

I understand the goal of this mission but time ? our least abundant resource ? is wasted every time we do a system-wide scan for survivors. The time for saving lives has passed. We must accept this if we hope to win the war.

Re: Enemy ground tactics:

All evidence suggests that use of overwhelming force is the very foundation of the enemy?s combat doctrine. And I adamantly refuse to deploy personnel where the enemy has available forces numbering in the billions. With the very real likelihood we are rapidly becoming the last living specimens of our race, all personnel are henceforth confined to stasis until further notice. Even with everyone equipped with [C_12_CS[?]] we would have had very little chance of survival, let alone victory.

Re: Enemy command structure:

We have intercepted several transmissions from compound intelligences whose proximity to the core worlds mark them as key targets. At present we are disassembling these new transmissions. Once we have more [concrete conclusions] I will forward them in their entirety. Suffice it to say, that their contents ? the patterns they suggest ? are highly disturbing.

Recommendations:

It is my opinion that any system where there is evidence that the enemy has established a physical presence is lost and must be razed. This fleet currently retains the capacity to force premature stellar collapse; I advise that this be established as standard operating procedure for all compromised systems forthwith. We cannot fight this war by half measures if we intend to win.

...

Considering the enemy compound intelligence?s raw [computing] power the Key-ships strategy will only remain viable for another [657,000 hours] and this current stalemate has the potential to last considerably longer than that.

With my understanding of the enemy?s [modus operandi], its logical boundaries, and [catalog of witness] I have devised what I believe is our most sound fall-back strategy.

By [cutting fire breaks[?]] into the [core world?s volume] we would be able to frustrate the enemy?s advances for approximately [70,080 hours] and lure them into costly naval battles.

While its resources on the ground are effectively limitless, it has a finite number of vessels to spread from system to system. Fortunately the majority of them are unarmed and unarmored, private and commercial craft.

If we start immediately ? commence total biosphere elimination of life sustaining worlds (as indicated in the accompanying charts) and relocate evacuated populations to facilities such as those described in the [Onyx project] ? all this could be achieved in [57,1590 (+ or ? 2,1842) hours].

...

Follow-up report from the Primary Pioneer Group (hereafter: PPG) is [173 hours] delinquent.

Report [G617a~k/g/post_landfall] seemed most promising: a planet capable of supporting life located within the near border region of the [galactic halo] with no indigenous sentient species.

The section indicating no fauna of any kind shall be considered anomalous until verified by Advance Survey Team ? Alpha (hereafter: AST-A) team leader [##_#[?]]. If confirmed, that fact alone would justify the dispatch of an investigative group to [G 617 g].

If neither the PPG nor the AST-A have delivered a follow-up report within the next [333 hours] this office will have no recourse but to send a medium intensity military exploratory detachment to determine the exact nature of the previously mentioned delinquency.

...

[12:H 20:M 00:S]

I begin this report with no illusions that it will ever be seen by its intended readers. In all likelihood they have already committed [species-wide suicide] with the goal of preserving biological diversity in this galaxy. I must ensure that this information reaches those who must come after. If I fail in this, how can they not regard my creators? sacrifice as anything but a [a crime without measure]?

[12:H 19:M 59:S]

Contender AI 05-032<//>Mendicant Bias is returning and has the capacity to bring the enemy through the [Maginot] sphere. The crews of my task force are aware of the opposing fleet?s size; all data indicates that they have prepared themselves ? but with biologicals anything is possible. I will make sure that [malfunctioning equipment] does no further damage. Perhaps its current failure will finally allow it to succeed at the task it was originally created for.

[11:H 15:M 48:S]

Mendicant has burrowed through the sphere exactly where I expected ? a direct path from initial rampancy to final retribution. Rage has made it predictable. If the fate of the crews of my auxiliary fleet were not already a foregone conclusion I would rate their chance of survival at [1:1,960,000].

Even though 05-032?s declaration of hostilities simplified strategic preparations; I do not expect an easy fight ? just one I cannot lose.

[11:H 12:M 09:S]

05-032 was right about one thing: there is only one way to defeat the enemy, and that is to visit utter annihilation on it.

If the galaxy must be [rendered temporarily lifeless]. So be it.

As Mendicant stated in its report [58.078:H 48:M 12:S ago]: half measures will not suffice.

[09:H 45:M 18:S]

In support of 05-032?s original 1000 core vessels is a fleet numbering 4,802,019; though only 1.8 percent are warships ? and only 2.4 percent of that number are capital ships ? I am outnumbered [436.6:1]. I expect my losses will be near total, but overwhelming force has its own peculiar drawbacks.

Such a press of arms invites many opportunities for unintentional fratricide.

[07:H 36:M 41:S]

My auxiliaries are momentarily stunned by Mendicant?s opening move ? 1,784,305 leisure craft ranging from [45 ~ 5769 tonnes] advance in hopes of overwhelming my comparatively tiny force. I do not have enough [weapon systems] to target them all.

It is a mathematical certainty that some of them will get through and attempt to board. There isn?t a single warship with this first wave. It seems my opponent?s rage has left no room for respect.

[04:H 01:M 55:S]

I could have countered its move if I had released my fighters. They are ready but idle; making their base vessels more attractive prizes than targets. Now the first of many waves of commercial vessels mixed with single ships and assault craft surge forward. The first ship from my fleet to be boarded breaks formation and races into the oncoming vessels ? striking one amidships. The cargo vessel?s hull split open and out of it explodes not the expected consumer goods but 31,860 dying warriors.

[00:H 19:M 02:S]

The seventh and final wave of container ships, barges, tankers, and military vessels engage my fleet; another 214,320 ships, many in excess of [50,000 tonnes], engage my seemingly disrupted vanguard. I continue to fight just well enough to seem lucky.

Mendicant, or the enemy, has been sending a small percentage of its fleet elsewhere. Good. Let them believe they can seize a foothold somewhere inside the sphere.

[00:H 00:M 11:S]

Despite all its faults, 05-032 has fought remarkably well.

My auxiliaries lay in tatters ? more than half of them are now part of the enemy fleet. But just as I had predicted, 05-032 concentrated them like they were the sole key to victory. Its desire to punish our creators blinded it to the true purpose of my [feints]. I have reduced the combat effectiveness of its core fleet to 79.96 percent. Surely now it must realize that something is amiss.

[00:H 00:M 00:S]

The [Halo effect] strikes our combined fleets. All ships piloted by biologicals are now [adrift].

I can trade Mendicant ship for ship now and still prevail.

[00:H 00:M 01:S]

Of my ships that had been captured, 11.3 percent of them are close enough to Mendicant?s core fleet that they can be used offensively ? either by initiating their self-destruct sequences, or by opening unrestricted ruptures into [slipstream space].

It is best that our crews perished now; because the battle that is about to ensue would have driven them mad.

[00:H 00:M 02:S]

I throw away all the rules of acceptable conduct during battle; near the ruptures I throw away all the accepted ideas of how the natural world is supposed to behave. I toss around [37,654 tonne] dreadnaughts like they were fighters; dimly aware of the former crews being crushed to liquescence.

For now all my concentration is focused on inertial control and navigation. Targeting isn?t even a consideration ? I will be engaging my enemy at arm?s length.

[00:H 01:M 14:S]

05-032 abandoned the tactic of using derelict ships as cover after [72:S] ? It seems that 52 core vessels lost to the ruptured fuel cells of derelict ships was lesson enough. Add another 608 lost to collision, point fire, structural failure due to inertial manipulation, and [slipstream space] induced discoherence and I now outnumber Mendicant [6:1].

[00:H 03:M 00:S]

Mendicant was able to postpone its inevitable annihilation for [106:S] with its attempt to flee. But the last of its core vessels hangs before me now; crippled and defeated but still sensate. I could spare it; carve out what is left of its [personality construct array] and deliver it to [Installation Zero] for study.

I doubt it would have extended the same courtesy to me.

Mendicant had since disappeared without a trace, his last message a quite vicious, confirming his rampancy:

I kill you all and I enjoy it. I destroy you in your indolent billions ? in your gluttony, in your self-righteousness, in your arrogance. I pound your cities into dust; turn back the clock on your civilization?s progress. What has taken you millennia to achieve I erase in seconds.

Welcome back to the [Stone Age], vermin, welcome home.

Your history is an appalling chronicle of overindulgence and self-appointed authority. You have spent millennia [navel-gazing] while the universe has continued to evolve. And now you claim the Mantle is justification for impending nature?s inevitable refinement?

You are deluded. But through death you will transcend ignorance.

Upon arriving at the replacement for Installation 04, in an effort to activate the rings as the Forerunners once had, the last monitor delivers this final message to the Reclaimer:

You don?t know the contortions I had to go through to follow you here, Reclaimer. I know what you?re here for. What positions do I take? Will I follow one betrayal with another?

You?re going to say I?m making a habit of turning on my masters.

But the one that destroyed me long ago, in the upper atmosphere of a world far distant from here, was an implement far cruder than I. My weakness was my capacity ? unintentional though it was! ? to choose the Flood. A mistake my makers would not soon forgive.

But I want something far different from you, Reclaimer.

Atonement.

And so here at the end of my life. I do once again betray a former master. The path ahead is fraught with peril. But I will do all I can to keep it stable ? keep you safe. I?m not so foolish to think this will absolve me of my sins. One life hardly balances billions.

But I would have my masters know that I have changed.

And you shall be my example.

Feel free to add your theories, beliefs and general understandings of the above information. These quotes have not been entirely validated, but they were acquired from this Halo Wiki site which has its own citations. I have my own theories, but I'd like to hear everyone elses before completely 'flooding' this thread with my thoughts (no pun intended).

#2 UHYVE

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:49 PM

I've not read through them all yet but thanks for posting them. I was hoping someone would post these somewhere since I don't feel like going back to every terminal just to figure out the sidestory.

#3 justininhifi

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 09:28 PM

I've not read through them all yet but thanks for posting them. I was hoping someone would post these somewhere since I don't feel like going back to every terminal just to figure out the sidestory.



It's unreal how deep this stuff gets. I read through most of it and think that a lot of it speaks for itself. I hope someone can expound on it and tie it all together. Maybe get some words from Bungie on it too.

#4 MoNuckah

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 08:44 AM

Damn Voc, thanks for getting that altogether in one place. Good reading. It was a really nice touch for Bungie to include all this back story, it flushes out the universe and reveals the scale of the Flood's threat to the universe. I've heard that you have to find all the Terminals in one single run to get the achievement, anyone know weather or not thats true?

#5 vociferous

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 08:49 AM

I've heard that you have to find all the Terminals in one single run to get the achievement, anyone know weather or not thats true?

It's not true and they're different on Legendary. Most of all that is contained in the terminals is listed above, regardless of difficulty.

#6 NJ Shlice

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 08:52 AM

I go back to work on Friday :( so I will go through everything then.

#7 MoNuckah

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 08:52 AM

It's not true and they're different on Legendary. Most of all that is contained in the terminals is listed above, regardless of difficulty.



Cool, thanks.

#8 NJ Shlice

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 12:40 PM

I just sat down and read everything. My thoughts: Guilty Spark = Mendicant Bias. So I'm a little uncertain about this whole Librarian/Cataloging procedure. So as they were preparing for the Rings to be fired, they created the Ark and also visited all worlds around the Universe to transfer specimens from those worlds to the Library which is on the Ark?? Or to all of the Libraries that are on the Halo Rings?? Also, why Earth? why were we special? And what does it mean that we were chosen and that we were special, are we the only ones given the title as Reclaimer? So the rings are fired and everything in the galaxy is gone except what is on the rings, which should just be Monitors, Flood for studying, and Catagloged species from worlds that were saved. Well so then what happens? How does life restart? Where are the other species/worlds that were saved by the Librarian? There is still soo much that I don't know or understand. I cannot wait to hear your guys ideas. this is what I"m more excited about and I hope all of you read all of this and speak of your ideas...

#9 justininhifi

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 06:00 PM

I just sat down and read everything.

My thoughts:

Guilty Spark = Mendicant Bias.

So I'm a little uncertain about this whole Librarian/Cataloging procedure. So as they were preparing for the Rings to be fired, they created the Ark and also visited all worlds around the Universe to transfer specimens from those worlds to the Library which is on the Ark?? Or to all of the Libraries that are on the Halo Rings??

Also, why Earth? why were we special? And what does it mean that we were chosen and that we were special, are we the only ones given the title as Reclaimer?

So the rings are fired and everything in the galaxy is gone except what is on the rings, which should just be Monitors, Flood for studying, and Catagloged species from worlds that were saved. Well so then what happens? How does life restart? Where are the other species/worlds that were saved by the Librarian?

There is still soo much that I don't know or understand.

I cannot wait to hear your guys ideas. this is what I"m more excited about and I hope all of you read all of this and speak of your ideas...



Yeah, there are a lot of questions i wish i had the answers too.

I really wish they would release the 'Halo Bible' at some point in time or atleast explain some of the more in depth questions.

#10 urk

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 09:55 PM

I'd also like to see the "code" all in one spot. There are certainly messages in their. Also, sooner or later, the audio is going to get some attention. There are definitely some oddities that play in the background. No doubt something there as well. I'm not sure what happened, but it looks to me like the Librarian was heading a mission to sample all sentient life on the galaxy. Collection of DNA would allow the Forerunners to "reseed" each planet after the firing of the array as a last resort. Obviously they would need machines to handle the process. But something went wrong and it appears that only a few planets were repopulated. Maybe there resources were diverted by the surprise turn of Mendicant Bias. Perhaps the Flood moved faster then they could gave anticipated. All we know is that what is left is fragmented. Splinters and shards of a shattered history.

#11 vociferous

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 10:08 PM

Good point. I've got a variety of thoughts I've been throwing around as well concerning this. Monday, when I get back into the office, I'll work on piecing them together.

#12 Syracuse022

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 10:31 PM

I lol'd when I saw 'I see you Reclaimer' in one of the rampant code segments... I have yet to sit down and go through the terminals in the in-depth nature that I'd like to, but there's some really cool stuff there. Nice write-up, Voc, and that site you referenced is quite handy.

#13 urk

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 06:52 AM

Also, not exactly Terminal related, but definitely entwined in the story of the Forerunner and their post-apocalyptic plans, recall the comic released with the IRIS arg. We saw that the Forerunner left behind machines for some purpose. Not dead, purposeless, or even simply machines meant as vessels for artificial intelligence, but workers toiling away at something. Could have been Ark maintenance or burial, but the burial seems to be handled prior to the events of the comic and the Ark, we can assume, like other installations, would have it's own internal maintenance mechanisms. Perhaps these were components of Earth's reseeding process. After all, the Earth was not made in a day. It's sentient life might take time to create and tend into self-sufficiency. A new take on Intelligent Design?

#14 NJ Shlice

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 08:42 AM

Also, not exactly Terminal related, but definitely entwined in the story of the Forerunner and their post-apocalyptic plans, recall the comic released with the IRIS arg. We saw that the Forerunner left behind machines for some purpose. Not dead, purposeless, or even simply machines meant as vessels for artificial intelligence, but workers toiling away at something.

Could have been Ark maintenance or burial, but the burial seems to be handled prior to the events of the comic and the Ark, we can assume, like other installations, would have it's own internal maintenance mechanisms.

Perhaps these were components of Earth's reseeding process. After all, the Earth was not made in a day. It's sentient life might take time to create and tend into self-sufficiency. A new take on Intelligent Design?



Good points Urk.

Maintenance machines would HAVE to be in place to initiate some sort of "Restart the Universe" protocol.

Me and Voc were talking about it last night, or simply to transport Humans back to Earth (if indeed we were a chosen species and many of us were saved and sent to the Ark prior to its firing.)

Urk, my main question is what about all of the other species? all of the other worlds? The Library was in charge of cataloging them and Didact speaks of "Recieving more shipments [of species] than messages."

Each respective species could have been stored in the libraries of the closest Halo Installation, and Humans could have been brought to the Ark.

But there would have to be machines on the Halo Installations to bring the species back to their worlds/planets. Or some Forerunners left behind to carry out that task.

#15 urk

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 11:11 AM

Well, The Covenant is comprised of several species who seemed to have been given the same treatment as Humans, though their worlds would appear devoid of an IRIS system for transport to the ark. If the machinery was in place on those worlds for the reseeding process, then the array activation would have left it intact. Perhaps Mendicant Bias assisted Gravemind in destroying such facilities and only failed to find the one on Earth due to the planets late discovery. Or maybe the Forerunners took them out themselves as each planet fell in order to prevent access to the Ark. It would stand to reason that Mendicant Bias would have knowledge of these facilities, save the final one on Earth that was built after he was sent into the field to confront the Flood. The number of species cataloged could be attributed to non-sentient species as well as worlds that were simply glassed, leaving any reseeding technically and geologically impossible. It appears the Librarian's ceaseless dedication to her charge was ultimately the most significant event in the Universe. Without her, Earth is never found by the Forerunners. Humans would have been eradicated by the array. The Universe would have fallen to the Flood.

#16 NJ Shlice

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 11:18 AM

We also have to work Dyson Sphere's into the equation. We don't know how many there are/were. There could have been some species that were close to a Dyson Sphere, that were just escorted to it and placed inside of it prior to the initial Array firing. There is just so much more to this...

Edited by NJ x Falk0r, 07 October 2007 - 11:19 AM.


#17 Kinetic

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 11:49 AM

I'm interested in what happened to Offensive Bias after Mendicant fled the battlefield. After MB flees and changes his ways millenia later when Master Chief comes to town, Offensive is never brought up again. He has to fit in the picture somewhere, whether it be in the current story or in the next.

#18 urk

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 12:42 PM

I would imagine that once an AI has fulfilled it's purpose (in this case, the defeat of MB) it would hibernate or be erased. Of course we know of more than a few fragments of other AI sticking around, but they almost always have some sort of mission they need to complete or a message they feel they need to convey. Dust and echoes.

#19 MoNuckah

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 08:50 AM

What I don't understand is why the Forerunners would have kept Flood samples anywhere.

They go through all the trouble of eradicating all of the life in the universe, only to leave seedlings of the scourge in their own back yards. That is something I've wondered about since the first game. If the Flood is so dangerous, why give it the slightest chance of survival?

#20 mattacus

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 08:56 AM

I think they kept them there in the hopes that they would find a weakness or some other way of eradicating them, without resorting to destroying everything. I think the fact that they survived on the halo(s) was just a result of not having enough time to do more than light the rings and cover your ears.



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